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Planning Retirement Online

You can do IT in later life

May 2008


You can do IT is a regular feature of aimed at trying to help laterlife visitors make the most of Information Technology on or off the web. 

Jackie Sherman who runs the You can do IT Question & Answer section is an IT trainer and author. Jackie has spent her career in education and specialises in teaching IT to adults. Her courses for adults include such topics as MS Office, the Internet, e-mail and basic web page authoring.  

Jackie has also written several books - you can find more details about these by clicking here. Jackie has also been running a course specifically for over 50s.

Via Jackie aims to particularly help those new to IT and the web to build up knowledge and confidence, so no question is too basic. At the same time she will cover Q&As for the more experienced user. 

So if you would like to ask a question of Jackie, or if you have discovered something which may be of interest to others in making the most of the web, then she would love to hear about that too. Why not email her


May 2008

Sorting word processed documents

Q: I have created a large document containing my favourite recipes and want all the items listed in alphabetical order so that I can find specific recipes quickly. How can this be done in Word?

A: The only problem with this is that it needs the main item e.g. food ingredient or recipe name, to start each entry. If we assume that you have done this – or could add a key word at the beginning of each entry fairly easily – then there are two stages:

1. Turn the list into a table
2. Sort the table.

If you do this, it then makes it very easy to add new recipes at the bottom of the list and re-order them again to get them back into alphabetical order.

Here is how to do it:

a. Select all the recipes.
b. Click on the Table menu and select Convert – Text to Table.

MS Word - Screenshot of free Text and 'Table' menu

c. You will then see a window offering you the choice of how many columns to have in your table and how you want to separate each item e.g. by paragraph, tab etc.
d. At this stage, it is best to leave the separator at whatever your computer has chosen, and just ask for 1 column and click OK. In the example, I have just pressed Enter at the end of each line so "paragraph" is the correct separator. (If it doesn't work on your table, you can then repeat the menu choice and have a go at selecting a different method for separating the items.)

MS Word - Convert Text To Table menu


e. You will return to your document and see that you now have a single column table.

MS Word - Screenshot showing tabulated text

f. Now it is time to re-order the recipes according to their first word. Select the table – a quick way is to click the small square in the top, left hand corner showing a cross – and return to the Table menu. Select Sort.
g. The default choice is to sort alphabetically (Ascending) by Column 1. As you only have one column, click OK and your recipes will be in order.

To remove the gridlines, so that the recipes don't look quite so much like a table, select the entries, open the Format menu and click the Borders and Shading option. On the Borders tab, click None in the Setting section (the top box on the left).

MS Word - Borders and Shading Menu

To add a new recipe, click after the last word (it will be inside the last "cell" but that won't be visible without gridlines) and press the Tab key on the keyboard (marked with two arrows, next to Q). You will make a new table cell and can enter your next ingredients here. Sort the table again later to get new recipes into their correct positions in the list.

Q: I have some digital photographs that are coloured badly. Can I select part of a picture and change the colour? I use Paint Shop Pro.

A: If you open the picture on screen, the first thing to do is save it as a new version. Any changes that go wrong will then NOT ruin your original picture!!!

Here are two different methods you could try.

1. Using the Magic Wand
The Magic Wand tool picks out elements that are similar in colour, brightness or opacity – very helpful for selecting spaced-out and oddly shaped parts of an image.

a. Click on the Magic Wand tool.
b. Click to display the Tools Palette and select the type of selection you want to make e.g. RGB.
c. Increase the Tolerance if you want to pick up a less exact match.
d. Click on part of the picture, hold down Shift and keep clicking to select matching colours in the whole picture. Dotted lines (a marquee) will show what has been selected.

Paint Shop Pro - Sunflower Image and 'Magic Wand' menu

e. Click the paint brush tool and change its size if necessary from the tools palette. You can now change the selected colour on your picture by painting over with a new colour.
f. Click the foreground (left hand solid colour box) or background (right hand box - see red circle in the picture below) to open the colour palette and click a different colour in the window that appears. Click OK to set that colour.

Paint Shop Pro - Colour Palette

g. Use the left mouse button (for foreground) or right mouse button (background) to paint on the replacement colour you want. Only the selected areas will change colour.

Paint Shop Pro - Sunflower after color change

2. Using the Colour Replacer Tool

This is useful for simple shapes.

1. Use the eye dropper to right-click on the colour you want to replace. It will appear in the background box of the colour palette.
2. Click the Colour Replacer tool (a red arrow on a blue background).
3. Now select the replacement colour by clicking the foreground colour (left-hand) box in the palette and choosing a replacement.
4. Click your picture with the left mouse button and the new colour will replace the old.




View previous editions of YoucandoIT for more useful Questions and Answers

For a wealth of books on the web and IT generally, visit Amazon and under the books section select Computers and Internet.

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